When should we listen to a famous movie and television actress about how to treat addiction and alcoholism successfully? When that actress has a genius-level intellect and has dedicated the past decade of her life to working with the top researchers in the field. Claudia Christian is a major Hollywood actress, known for her lead role in a groundbreaking sci-fi series that ran for five seasons and for a lead role in a Disney feature film and many other well-known appearances.
She has also recovered from alcoholism with the help of the research of Dr. John D. Sinclair and the guidance of Dr. Roy Eskapa. Since her first exposure to The Sinclair Method for curing alcoholism, Ms. Christian has worked hard to spread the word of this little known, and easy to follow protocol using the FDA-approved drug, naltrexone. She is the founder of the C-Three Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping patients and doctors to better understand and utilize naltrexone to treat alcoholism.
The following text is a transcript of our interview which can be listened to on The Rehab Podcast on The Mental Health News Radio Network.
Dr. Leeds: Welcome to The Rehab on the Mental Health News Radio Network. I am Dr. Mark Leeds and I will be your host. Join me in exploring the world of addiction treatment. How can we improve the ways that we help individuals to overcome addiction? The goal of treatment is to save lives, and help people to get back on track to a path towards success and happiness in life. On The Rehab podcast, my guest is Claudia Christian, a movie, television star, author, singer, model. Probably best known for her lead role as Commander of Babylon Five and many, many other films, and television shows, and voice work. You were the voice of Jaguar. On IMDB, the Internet Movie Database, you have 145 credits as an actress, which is incredible. You are also the founder of the C Three Foundation, CThreeFoundation.org, which is a foundation that promotes the Sinclair method, which we’re definitely going to be talking about. You are the producer of an incredible documentary film, One Little Pill, which is a documentary about the Sinclair Method. Welcome to the podcast.
Claudia: Thank you so much, Mark. It’s my pleasure to be here.
Dr. Leeds: As far as the Sinclair Method, now the use of naltrexone, I was speaking to an older doctor who I brought it up, and he said it’s really unusual. All the doctors were being told to use naltrexone for alcoholism 30 years ago. These days, nobody knows about it. It’s almost like it’s been forgotten. You could almost call it the forgotten pill. This guy called me from Naples, which is on the other coast of Florida, I’m in Ft. Lauderdale. He said it would be a three hour drive to come visit me in my office, but he can’t find a single doctor in his area who is willing to prescribe naltrexone, which doesn’t make any sense because it’s probably safer than a lot of over-the-counter medications. It probably should be over-the-counter itself.
Claudia: Absolutely. Well, first of all, let me address a couple of things there. That fellow in Naples could easily go onto www.CThreeFoundation.org and find plenty of providers in Florida, including telemedicine where he could immediately get a prescription probably the same day. Furthermore, as far as it being the forgotten pill, absolutely. It was approved in 1994, but unfortunately doctors were told to prescribe it with abstinence, and also usually they told the person to take it in the morning. What you’re dealing with there is an individual who is struggling with cravings that usually kick in around cocktail hour after work. It’s a psychological aspect, a compulsive behavior that you have a pattern, a habit. Henceforth, people aren’t really craving alcohol in the morning, unless they are physically biologically at that point dependent on the alcohol. Let’s say you have your average drinker who is drinking too much. Around 4:00 or 5:00, they start to really crave. Well, if you’re taking it in the morning and trying to remain abstinent, not only will the medication no longer be at a peak plasma level in your bloodstream, but it really might wear off for some individuals who have a high metabolism.
Claudia: The half life is ten to 12 hours, but as we know this can change amongst people. You take it at 7:00 in the morning, and what are you blocking? You’re blocking the endorphins you create in life from working out, making love, playing with your children, your pets, doing something you enjoy. This is really counterintuitive to the whole process of getting somebody away from alcohol misuse. It was the wrong way to prescribe it, even though the studies have shown that targeted use of naltrexone is far more effective than taking it in the morning and trying to remain abstinent. Regardless of that, doctors are still prescribing it in that antiquated manner. I think it’s a matter of a lot of doctors don’t have a lot of education in addiction. It’s a very minimum amount of hours required to graduate. I think it’s eight hours or something, you would know that better than me.
Claudia: I don’t think that for continuing education credits it’s something that’s terribly appealing for, let’s say, a general practitioner. I don’t think they’re going to take the latest continuing education course on addiction. Anyway, all of that adds up to people relying on extremely antiquated manners of treating alcohol use disorder. For example, telling them to go to a meeting or just quit. Clearly, this doesn’t work because the rate of alcohol deaths are climbing substantially every year. Now we have a subset of individuals that are incredibly young developing alcohol use disorder. For women, in the past decade 85% more cases of alcohol use disorder amongst women. It’s an epidemic as much as the opioid epidemic. Alcohol misuse is an epidemic. It’s something that is legal and it’s everywhere. It’s also legal to target women and to target young people to drink. It’s everywhere. Between the marketing and the accessibility, we have a real problems on our hands, Mark.
Dr. Leeds: This country has tried prohibition, and they say it didn’t work and they made alcohol legal. Do you think it might be time to try that again?
Claudia: I don’t think so because I’ve seen massive amounts of misuse in places where alcohol is not available. I’ve known people serving abroad in the Middle East, and they would drink gasoline. Because if you’re physically dependent, or hair spray out of desperation, you will do anything and it might kill you. There are people that huff Aqua Net because they just need to get the alcohol. They drink perfume. I myself, at my very worst, drank vanilla extract. When you’re physically addicted and you’re taken over by that compulsive behavior, it is all encompassing. You will do anything to relieve the withdrawal from alcohol. Making it illegal, I don’t think that’s the answer because you’ll have prohibition bars popping up everywhere. You’ll have speakeasies. You’ll have people making more money off of it by selling it at a much higher price. You’ll have people producing grain alcohol at home, which is far more destructive to your system, your liver, your esophagus, everything. We know that. You’ll have far more cases of cancer. People drinking moonshine die a lot sooner.
Claudia: I think what it is is it’s education. It’s education of telling doctors that it is not responsible, it is malpractice, to say to somebody, “You should go to an AA meeting,” and leave it at that. That is not fair to the individual. First of all, that’s peer support. It is not scientifically based. It is not a treatment. It is peer support. You wouldn’t tell somebody with leukemia to go to a meeting for leukemia patients. It’s just complete hogwash. I think doctors need to be educated. By the way, I’m not denigrating or negating that AA helps certain individuals. I’m past all that and saying that we need to move into the modern day, and we need to start treating this as the disease it is. You don’t treat a disease with talk therapy. You treat it with medication. You have to have a comprehensive program for the individual because, let’s face it, everybody drinks for different reasons. Everybody is made up of different memories and trauma. We have to treat it comprehensively with medication and with cognitive behavioral therapy, or some sort of support.
Dr. Leeds: Now, as far as doctors who do treat addiction, a lot of doctors go into the field of addiction treatment because they’ve had issues with addiction or alcoholism themselves. A lot of them do get credentialed through organizations such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, or ASAM. Now, if you go to ASAMs website, they’re very much in favor of the 12 step process. There’s a page where they talk about that it’s evidence based medicine, not the 12 step program itself, but the 12 step program facilitation, getting people into AA. The organization that doctors are going to to get credentialed in addiction treatment, the doctors that really want to learn everything about addiction and how to properly treat it, they’re being taught the 12 steps are the way to go, which is a big problem.
Claudia: I know, it’s a huge problem. There is nothing evidence based about it. First of all, the anonymity prohibits you from actually knowing how many people are successful at it, but common understanding or belief is that it has upwards of a 97% relapse rate, that only maybe 2-5% of the people remain sober for a year with the 12 step program. Not only that, I think that especially for women in the program, if you’re telling somebody that they’re a failure off the start, to be saddled with an addiction is one thing, but then to be told that you’re a failure over and over again. They take your chips away if you have a beer after ten years. Everything is based on punishment in that regard. I do believe that if you have a like minded group of individuals that aren’t drinking and your goal is sobriety, absolutely. Go to meetings. Make new friends that don’t drink. I think that’s wonderful. That’s comradery in the right lane.
Claudia: If you want to reduce your drinking, or if you want to get rid of your cravings, going to a meeting and talking about it is not going to help, I don’t think. I don’t think it helps with your cravings at all, and there are medications for that. I think that we need to offer people that because people feel like a failure. If they go to AA and it doesn’t work for them, if they don’t believe in God, or they don’t like it, or if they get hit on by some guy, a convict with a criminal record that is court mandated to attend an AA meeting … Which, by the way, I’ve been to lots of AA meetings. There’s dodgy characters in a lot of them that I wouldn’t want my daughter hanging out with if she had a drinking problem. I wouldn’t want them to be with court mandated pedophiles in a meeting, and that’s what happens in AA meetings. That’s the reality of it.
Claudia: Anyway, onto the subject of TSM, what I advocate and what I used for my own drinking issue back in 2009. I found a flyer for something called Vivitrol, and it was a shot that was very expensive. I looked into it and I found out that the active ingredient was naltrexone, which is an opiate blocker. As I did a little bit of research, I stumbled upon this book by Dr. Roy Eskapa, the title was The Cure For Alcoholism. I thought, well, this is one more snake oil treatment, but I read the book. I come from a family of doctors and researchers, so I immediately clung on to hope with this method of using naltrexone in a targeted manner. I ordered it online because at that point there was no C Three Foundation. There was no documentary One Little Pill. There was no book Babylon Confidential. There was nothing on the Sinclair Method, other than Dr. Eskapa’s book. I ordered it, and it profoundly changed my relationship to alcohol.
Claudia: In the decade that I was on TSM, I had my ups and downs. Certainly, when I was complying 100%, it was magical. I had years and years of being able to be a normal drinker, being able to travel and have a glass of wine or being able to sit around with friends and have a drink or two and stop and have no cravings, and not spiral into a binge. For me, it was life saving. I then started to coach people. I opened up my nonprofit foundation to spread the word of it because I thought it was just absurd that people don’t have any options. That their option is they’re just told to go to a meeting and quit drinking. I’ve dealt with a lot of young people. It’s really difficult to tell a 25 year old not to drink for the next 75 years. It’s pervasive in this culture. I think having that option, a lot of people on the Sinclair Method go sober, about 40-something-percent go abstinent. They just lose interest in it. It took me a long time to lose interest. I’ve been abstinent for the past year, but before that I’d drink and then not drink for six months, then have a little bit.
Claudia: I think for me, I just got to the point where I was done with it. That took me a long time. My behavior was obviously more entrenched with trauma and emotional dependence on using alcohol in an unhealthy manner. I’m completely transparent about that. Other people, such as Katie [Cronan 00:13:33] who runs In Body Daily, she did it. I think she was done with alcohol within a year on the Sinclair Method, and she’s been sober ever since. There are individuals. Gary Bell, who is in my documentary, I think he did it for a few month, and he’s been sober for six years. There are people who respond differently to it, but all in all and the reason why I advocate for it and the reason why I am so interested in medications for alcohol use disorders, because I’ve seen the results and they are outstanding. If the person is motivated and if the person really wants to gain control of their drinking or stop drinking, these medications are life saving, period.
Dr. Leeds: What do you think about psychotherapy, seeing a psychologist to help you with that side of things, developing tools, or getting to the root of the problem of why you started drinking in the first place? Is that important also?
Claudia: Yes. I used to be strictly biological. I was very adamant about the majority of people are biological drinkers, and I regret that. That was my experience at the time. I think I was belittling childhood trauma. I think now that I’ve done a hell of a lot more research over the past decade, I have a much clearer understanding about how much psychosocial support helps an individual throughout this process. I would definitely say that you need to find the right support. I myself had a psychiatrist with absolutely no addiction background that actually triggered me to drink every time I finished a session with her. She was not helpful to me at all in any way, didn’t teach me any tools to navigate mindful drinking, or mindful compliance. I wish I would’ve found somebody, and I wish I would’ve searched further. I did enjoy moderation management meetings. I thought those were great. I never really found an AA meeting that I felt comfortable in because the redundancy and the repetitiveness of the meetings, the readings of the same thing over, and over, and over again, the references to alcoholism as an allergy, the antiquated wordage didn’t sit well with me.
Claudia: I never found a meeting that I was quite comfortable in, but I’ve definitely found online support. We have Sinclair Method meetings. I used to do a monthly Sunday meeting, that was just wonderful. It was two hours plus, everyone just talking about their experiences. I’m trying to launch a site, TSM Buddies, which would match people together for compliance issues, or for alcohol free days, for support, much like a sponsor but, once again, that takes financing. We at C Three Foundation are very grassroots, so that website is on hold for now until we get some money in. In general, yes, I absolutely think that psychosocial support is incredibly important. I think if you have peer support, or a good therapist, or a good psychiatrist with addiction knowledge, and certainly somebody who can build you that toolbox so that you can learn to navigate life’s emotional aspects without relying on a substance. I think that’s one of the biggest thing is the triggers, the mindfulness when you’re triggered emotionally to be able to sit down and work your way through, what if I did drink right now, or what if I did use? Really sit down and think about what that would do, the repercussion in your life, how you would feel how you would feel the next day.
Claudia: Once you let that feeling pass, I truly believe with mindfulness and with really an intense connection to your own feelings and to sit with yourself quietly, it really does help a lot. If you do have someone to call, it’s even better. It’s wonderful to have a support team. I’m always concerned about people who don’t, especially people who want to go on the Sinclair Method. A lot of their partners or loved ones think it’s an excuse to drink because they don’t do the research. They don’t look into the science behind it. They just look at it like, oh, you’re going to pop a pill and get addicted to that pill, which is absolutely absurd because naltrexone, as you know, there’s no possibility of becoming addicted to it. It’s not an enjoyable drug. You cannot misuse it. There’s never been an overdose of naltrexone. People don’t get addicted to naltrexone. It is an opiate blocker. There is a lot of misinformation out there and confusion.
Claudia: I think that the most important thing for a loved one of someone who is suffering from alcoholism is to simply allow them to find the options. Do the research yourself if your husband or wife is suffering, and they come home and they say, “I really want to get this shot,” or, “this implant,” or, “I want to take this pill,” or, “I want to take this medication to help with my cravings.” For gosh’ sake, do the research and support them. Try to be loving, and come from a place of understanding that this is not a choice. Addiction is not a choice. I didn’t wake up some day and decide when I was a kid that I wanted to have OCD, and become an anorexic, and then become an alcoholic. These are the last things that I wanted to happen to me in this lifetime, but they happened. My brain is wired this way. Between genetics and between learned behavior, this is what happened. I thank God every day that science is finally catching up to treatment.
Dr. Leeds: As far as finding a good psychologist, and I know that’s an issue because I practice MAT, or medicated assistant treatment, in my medical practice, and this is really great to learn so much more about how this works pharmacological extinction and the use of naltrexone, taking it an hour before a drink, and not taking it every single day, and not getting it in the form of a month long shot. I did have an incident where I had referred a patient to a psychologist, someone with decades of experience in the treatment of alcoholism and addiction. The first thing that happened when my patient went to him is he said, “Well, you don’t need this medication anymore. We can handle this with therapy.”
Claudia: Oh, no. That’s not good.
Dr. Leeds: Then another incident where a patient’s therapist wanted to talk to me. She wanted him off of his medication. The first thing she said was, “I’m a Christian therapist. My therapy is based on” … I was thinking, I didn’t think Christianity taught therapy.
Claudia: Yeah, it’s amazing how people twist things for their own program, so to speak. It’s very sad. People in the business of helping others are not open minded enough to understand that everybody is different. You cannot throw one way at every individual and expect them to respond. It’s a tap dancing routine for therapists because this person has a totally different life than that other person. This person has a support system, that one doesn’t. This one just lost a child, that one lost a job. You can’t deal with everybody in one manner. It is unfortunate. I’m hoping that people start to be more open minded and to embrace compassion when it comes to treating addictions.
Dr. Leeds: Have you ever been to Celebrate Recovery?
Claudia: No, I have not.
Dr. Leeds: It’s a Christian group, but from what people have told me it’s a more easy going group where it’s not for any one kind of addiction, not even just drugs or alcohol, but even other kinds of addictions like gambling, but it is church based. It’s Christian. It might not be right for a lot of people, but then there’s also Smart Recovery.
Claudia: Smart Recovery and Life Ring. I think there’s also nonsecular, there’s also women’s groups, men’s groups. There’s so many choices nowadays. There’s also online support. We have a forum, we have Facebook pages. Like I mentioned, the Zoom monthly meetings are now weekly meetings on Wednesday evenings for people on TSM. It’s free. You can find your people. I always tell everyone you can find your group that you’re comfortable with. People have so many more options than they used to, so many more medications are now being used off label for everything from helping you sleep, withdrawal, cravings. It just depends on what you want. That’s why I’m so excited about comprehensive programs for individuals with coaches, and therapy, and medications individually suited to the persons needs.
Dr. Leeds: I’m sure you’re aware of this, naltrexone is available in almost every state now without a prescription.
Claudia: Yeah, which should open the door to naltrexone being over-the-counter. Absolutely.
Dr. Leeds: Apparently, naltrexone is not fully over-the-counter, but you can go up to the pharmacist and I guess they prescribe it. Just like a flu shot. Apparently, the FDA is fast tracking it through, that they want it to be over-the-counter.
Claudia: It should be, and so should naltrexone. It’s going to take a while, but I actually went to Washington DC this year to discuss that with a couple of group of people who help the things get through the FDA and help over-the-counter. I’m hoping that that will come to fruition with a little bit of lobbying, and some time and money put into it. It would be wonderful if you could, much like smoking cessation tools, if you could just go to the drug store and say, “I want some naltrexone.” I actually went in India when I was teaching there two summers ago, I went to a local pharmacy just to see if I could get it in Dharamshala, and I did. I said, “I would like to have some naltrexone.” He got on his little bike and said, “I’ll be back in an hour.” Low and behold, he handed me a packet of naltrexone. Some countries are much further ahead than we are. Spain actually used to have it over-the-counter, so did Czechoslovakia. Now people are saying it’s getting more difficult to find. I don’t understand these steps backwards, I really don’t. It’s so frustrating being in the nonprofit world and trying to promote something that actually saves lives.
Claudia: I’m not making money off of this in my nonprofit organizations, so I always struggle to understand why people won’t just listen, why doctors won’t open their ears to this life saving medication when we have so much evidence the past decade that I’ve been working with people. Honestly, I think maybe upwards of 85% of the people it works. You don’t have that success rate in other methods. You don’t have an 85% longterm success rate. Once again, this takes a certain kind of individual. You cannot force somebody to take medication and to be compliant. If you are meeting with a patient, any doctors out there want to use this method for an individual, it has to be somebody who is psychologically able to comply, who can physically tolerate naltrexone, obviously not pregnancy, or they can’t be addicted to opiates. Also, somebody who absolutely will be compliant. That means taking the medication and waiting a full hour before one drink. That means planning, that means mindfulness, that means accountability. If that person displays that motivation, they should absolutely be offered naltrexone.
Dr. Leeds: That would be great to take this out of the hands of doctors. It’s such a safe thing and people can learn how it works. Doctors, I think, are concerned about liability of sending a patient out and saying, “Okay, take this pill before you have a drink,” when they feel like they should be saying, “Don’t drink at all.” It’s like the issue with medical marijuana. Why are doctors involved with marijuana if it’s so safe and it helps with so many things? Why not do it like Colorado, just make it recreational or freely available? That’s a whole other subject.
Claudia: Well, yeah, but then you have the majority of articles and publications talking about marijuana misuse now, and marijuana overdoses, and marijuana making a true impact on the brain of young people in a negative manner. I think anybody who is going to veer towards misuse, substance misuse, if you have accessibility, probably easier accessibility, to alcohol or to anything is probably going to eventually filter out those people that have a disposition towards addiction. They’re going to misuse that substance, but as we all know, anyone who has lived in the world of addiction and experienced addiction, you will do whatever it takes to get your substance of choice. I’ve known people who have benefited enormously from medical marijuana for pain. I’ve also seen people that use low dose naltrexone and it’s changed their lives. They’ve gone from being in a wheelchair to actually walking because it helps with pain that much in micro-doses. It’s also used for fibromyalgia, MS, other neurological disorders. To not make this legal, low dose naltrexone not even FDA approved, to not make medical marijuana legal, of course, it’s absurd. Then, of course, you’re going to get people who abuse marijuana. I’ve seen incidences of people who literally smoke pot all day long. The strains are so strong nowadays that they’re rendered incapacitated. Is that escapism? Yes, but that’s somebody who is maybe prone to abuse. It’s a very complicated issue. I don’t think it’s in black and white.
Dr. Leeds: Is there a training program for doctors? Say that a doctor wants to get started, the kind of paperwork and agreement, doctors like to have things in the chart, like legal agreements, like informed consent, to let the person know, yes, go have a drink, but if you don’t follow the directions you’re going to be in trouble, and we’re not responsible for that. Doctors like to make sure, and they want to make sure, they’re doing things exactly right by the program. A doctor can read the book A Cure For Alcoholism by Dr. Eskapa, or they can watch One Little Pill, but how can a doctor really become prepared to actually do this in their practice?
Claudia: We have a whole website, CThreeFoundation.net. It’s C, T-H-R-E-E, Foundation.net. That website is specifically for doctors to learn about TSM. It has the protocol on there, the research. Everything is on that site. One of our dreams if we get funding, or if people start donating more, is to launch our training program for doctors. That’s already in the works but, once again, it’s all a matter of funding. We do know exactly what doctors need and we have been planning it. It’s just a matter of funding.
Dr. Leeds: Yeah, I’m looking at the site right now. There is a lot of information here on this page for the doctors, common myths. A doctor saying, “I’m not permitted to prescribe naltrexone.” Well, of course they can. In fact, they should be. They should be prescribing it.
Claudia: It’s FDA approved specifically since 1994. It’s been approved for alcohol misuse. It’s ridiculous. In 2009, when I approached my own GP, he refused me because he immediately thought it was an opiate. He didn’t even look at his little black book. By the way, I’d already been on it for four months, and I was paying outlandish prices to buy it from some pharmacy in India. It was $200 dollars for 30 pills. I really wanted a prescription. By the fourth doctor I went to, I’ve been refused by all of them, this guy was younger. He had his little book there, his little black medical book, medication book. He looked it up and he said, “Okay.” I showed him the packets, the empty packets. I said, “Look, I’ve been on this, my drinking has reduced to normal. I no longer binge. I drink maybe two three times a week, maybe on glass of wine. This has saved my life.”
Claudia: He was the only doctor that actually looked into it and gave me a prescription for 15 pills, and told me to come back, and I did. I played the game. Ten years later, he’s now one of the biggest providers of the Sinclair Method in southern California. He’s seen the results, he’s seen it save lives. He’s seen people come in and reduce their drinking by half or by three quarters, by 90%. He said, “This is insane that it’s not being used more often.” He took the time to listen to me, to hear me, and to look into the medication and see that there’s no possibility of abusing naltrexone. You can’t. That was a rare doctor indeed. It’s sad to think that in ten years things really haven’t changed that much. I shouldn’t say that, because in the six years that C Three Foundation has been open, when I started there was one doctor in the entire United States that prescribed naltrexone for his patients. Now, the whole US is covered almost, so it has changed.
Claudia: People still don’t know about it, so they don’t know to ask about it. That’s the sad thing. My Ted X talk has had over two million views, but it’s not enough. I’ve got to do another talk, I have to get out there, but I’m just one person shouting from the rooftop. I am one employee, and I’ve made one film. It’s really frustrating. It really is frustrating, but I haven’t given up hope. I’m still as motivated and passionate as I’ve ever been. I believe in this because I’ve seen how it profoundly changes peoples lives for the better. I’ve seen how it saves marriages. It saves the next generation, children being affected by their parents drinking. It’s remarkable, and I refuse to give up until this is mainstream and it is the first line of defense. When you go to the doctor they say, “Why don’t we put you on naltrexone in a targeted manner?” That is my dream.
Dr. Leeds: One part of the problem might be just the state of the healthcare system in the US, that doctors are on this assembly line. They have to see a patient in five minutes. Doctors have one of the highest suicide rates of all professions.
Claudia: Also, alcohol misuse rates.
Dr. Leeds: Yeah, exactly. You see a doctor to get alcoholism treated. That’s an old joke, that an alcoholic is a person that drinks more than their doctor.
Claudia: Yes, exactly. It’s very hard for them to treat themselves because they don’t want to go public with it, obviously. I deal with pilots, doctors, a lot of lawyers because they need privacy. Naltrexone provides that. TSM provides complete privacy. They can get the medication, and then they can just do it at home.
Dr. Leeds: That might be the best hope for something like the Sinclair Method to go out to doctors like that, doctors who have time to spend with their patients, who instead of spending five minutes are spending 30 to 60 minutes with a patient. There’s another thing called direct primary care. Doctors that don’t deal with insurance companies, but they have monthly plans for their patients where they can get as much care as they need, as much access to the doctor as they need for them and for their family. Those are the kind of doctors I think that would have the time to actually sit down and pay attention to this, and actually have time to talk to their patients.
Claudia: Absolutely, but in addition to that good idea, doctors who don’t have time have everything they need on C Three Foundation’s website. They can literally spend five minutes with a patient and say, “If you want to try the Sinclair Method, visit the C Three Foundation page, download the free drink log. Watch the videos. Read the book.” I send them a free PDF of the book. They can set their patient up in two minutes because we’ve provided all the information a patient needs, including peer support. If you have a limited amount of time, the doctor could say, “Here’s the naltrexone. You’re supposed to take it daily for cravings as per the FDA recommendation. However, if you’re going to drink, if you know you’re going to drink, make sure you take one an hour before you go to the event.” That’s not telling somebody to drink. It’s telling somebody if you think you’re going to relapse, or if you think you’re going to be in a dodgy situation, or a place where you always drink.
Claudia: It’s like a prophylactic. It’s like making sure you have your condom. You mentioned earlier that doctors are concerned that they’re encouraging people to drink. I think they have to get realistic. Your patient is going to drink. If they’re going to a wedding, do you want them to full blown relapse and spiral into a binge, or do you want to tell them that there’s a medication they could take that would prohibit them from binging? As a matter of fact, in England, nalorphine was used. They called it originally on the MHS the anti binge drinking pill. That’s what doctors were calling it, where if you want to not spiral into a binge, take this medication before you go to the pub. That’s the way it was marketed.
Dr. Leeds: For doctors who are worried about the consequences of prescribing naltrexone, they can just write the prescription, if they really only have five minutes with a patient, and to the patient says, “Please go look at this website. Download the drinking log and read this.” Even if they don’t want to do that, they can be assured that most of the time … The main thing is the patient is not taking opioids at all.
Dr. Leeds: Because it will put them in withdrawal.
Claudia: It would put them into immediate withdrawal, even a small amount of naltrexone will.
Dr. Leeds: One interesting thing is that the street drug kratom, the herbal thing that they say can help people self treat for opioid addiction, which is a dangerous thing for people to do that, but it’s available on cafes and online. There’s people who are proponents of kratom. Naltrexone can cause precipitated withdrawal for someone who is taking that drug.
Claudia: That’s what I’ve heard as well. I had somebody with a dual issue, they were using opiates and they were misusing alcohol. They had told their partner that they were off of the opiates, and the partner slipped them a quarter tablet of a 50 milligram tablet of naltrexone as a test to see if they were still on opiates. The individual went into full on withdrawal. That’s nothing to play with. They had to call an ambulance and everything. It’s not funny, it’s quite dangerous. Pregnancy, because there have not been enough studies on pregnancy with naltrexone. Of course, the old argument there is if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t be drinking at all. If you are physically dependent on alcohol, wouldn’t it be safer to take naltrexone than to drink, and ruin your child’s chances of a future? The other thing is liver damage. That’s another conundrum because, frankly, alcohol most likely has more negative impact on your liver health than naltrexone would. There’s been a lot of talk about over-the-counter pain medication having more detrimental effect on your liver than naltrexone. I think it’s common sense for a doctor to use on an individual basis. Clearly, if somebody is on opiates, yes, I would say clear away from that.
Dr. Leeds: It is definitely a safe medication, safer than probably most of the things that they’re prescribing.
Dr. Leeds: I definitely recommend that people visit your website.
Claudia: The best site for individuals curious about the Sinclair Method would be www.CThreeFoundation.org. For doctors, it would be CThreeFoundation.net. If anybody wants to just Google my name, Claudia Christian, and Ted X, they can watch the Ted X talk and refer people to that. My film is called One Little Pill. It’s the documentary available on Amazon Prime for free if you’re a member, or you can rent it at OneLittlePillMovie.com for a few bucks. It goes directly back to the nonprofit foundation. You can buy it there as well. Most of the resources you’ll find on the website, CThreeFoundation.org.
Dr. Leeds: Also, definitely for people who have not seen your show, I started watching it on I think Amazon Prime Video, Babylon Five. It’s a really great show. I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan. Just somehow I just never watched it. That’s just great.
Claudia: Very good writing. That’s about 25 years ago. It was a good experience for me. That was in the mid-90s. It’s really great writing. Joe Straczynski is a wonderful writer and it was very interesting for that time period. It was the first series to use CGI instead of models. Also, it was one of the few to have a story arch, much like an ongoing epic saga, instead of a standalone episode.
Dr. Leeds: All the shows are like that.
Claudia: Exactly. It was a little before it’s time, but very well written.
Dr. Leeds: That show was way before you knew about the Sinclair Method, right?
Claudia: Oh, I didn’t have a problem with alcohol when I was shooting that, no.
Dr. Leeds: That was before even that.
Claudia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I started that series when I was 29, and was on that for the next four or five years. My alcohol misuse really didn’t occur until my very late 30s, probably 38, 39, and into my early 40s.
Dr. Leeds: I was looking at it and I’m like, wow, there’s a character named Sinclair in the show.
Claudia: Sinclair, I know. I know. Then in the Disney film Atlantis I played Helga Sinclair. The name has been following me around. It’s auspicious. It’s funny, but yes. I give thanks to Dr. Sinclair and his research. He devoted the majority of his life to that, which is just amazing what his work and how profound of an affect it’s had on my life and many others lives.
Dr. Leeds: That’s incredible. Well, thank you.
Claudia: Thank you, Dr. Leeds. Thanks for having me on the show.
Dr. Leeds: Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me.
Claudia: Absolutely. You have a beautiful day. Thank you.
Dr. Leeds: You too, thank you. Thank you for joining us today on The Rehab on the Mental Health News Radio Network. I hope that you have found this show to be interesting and useful. If so, please subscribe to The Rehab podcast and share on social media. I appreciate your taking the time to listen to The Rehab.